Cheap Kayaking on the Hudson: New York City’s Best Kept Secret - My Family Travels

A chance to kayak on New York City’s Hudson River. Sounds fun, right? But, hey, what’s the catch? Believe it or not, this personal cruise can cost less than a Venti cappuccino at Starbucks thanks to the Inwood Canoe Club, one of Manhattan’s best kept secrets.

Since 2002, the Inwood Canoe Club has offered an “Open House” program in which guests can join members of the club for a leisurely kayak every Sunday, good weather provided, between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend. 

With an experienced team of members and volunteers, the Inwood Canoe Club allows New Yorkers the chance to kayak down to the George Washington Bridge or up to the mouth of the Harlem River — guided excursions that are both less than two miles, lasting 30 to 45 minutes per trip. 

Sessions begin at 10 a.m. and close at noon. Trips are arranged on a first-come, first-served basis. However, because the club is such a well kept secret, there is rarely a line and very little wait. 

Even better, the Inwood Canoe Club is an organization where low fees and friendly service can always be expected. Funded exclusively by member dues and public donations, the Inwood Canoe Club charges a fee of $4 to cover participant insurance. Paddlers who expect to make multiple return visits can also purchase a $15 summer pass, allowing them to participate in the Sunday excursions for the duration of the season. 

Kayaks, paddles, and personal flotation devices in all sizes are provided by the club. Swimsuits are not required, but wearing clothes that can get wet is a must. Guests should also note that the Inwood Canoe Club does not provide lockers for visitors, so please don’t bring anything you wouldn’t want to get wet.

There is only one requirement to participate in the program: In order to kayak, all guests must be able to swim and “self-rescue” in the unlikely chance that they were to fall in. All participants, regardless of their swimming proficiency, are required to wear a personal flotation device. Also, because all participants must sign an insurance waiver, the Inwood Canoe Club asks that guests under the age of 18 be accompanied by a parent. 

The Inwood Canoe Club is the oldest canoe and kayak club in Manhattan. Boasting a rich athletic history, it has produced five Olympic athletes since its opening in 1902. While the creation of well trained competitors has always been a goal of the club, the “Open House” program caters to kayakers looking for a more relaxing experience. Guests of all skill levels are always welcome. Double kayaks are also available, allowing guests with less experience to paddle with a more knowledgeable member of the kayaking group. For parents, this means there is an option to get in a boat with your child. 

Getting there is easy: Just take the A train up to Dyckman St. Station and walk to the Hudson River Greenway. The Inwood Canoe Club’s red boathouse is just 200 feet down the path. Guests should note that parking is not provided by the club: If driving, other parking arrangements would have to be made. 


Photo courtesy of Inwood Canoe Club.

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